Cat Nail Caps – Problems?

Soft Paws is the most common manufacturer of cat nail caps. We have all heard about them. Some people call them feline false nails or cat claw caps. They are little plastic caps that are placed over your cat’s existing claws. They are glued down. Permanent glue is squeezed into the cap and then it is fitted over the nail. They’re meant to last from one to two months. What are the downsides of this product? I have not used them but will speculate.

Cat nail caps
Cat nail caps
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

One thing comes to mind immediately: a cat’s nails grow so does that cause the nail cap to fall off? Also, do cats try and remove them with their teeth? I would have thought that they might do this because they are a foreign object on the paws. A cat won’t like it. Does chewing the nail cap present a hazard to the cat? I’m thinking about whether the cat might swallow some of the plastic.

This product does not stop scratching; it just stops the cat’s claws digging into furniture so there is no damage. However, a cat derives pleasure from his claws digging into the object that he is scratching. This allows him to stretch and slough off the kerotin on his claws so as to sharpen them. How does that play out in his mind?

In addition, is a cat able to fully retract his claws when he is wearing nail caps? As far as I’m aware the cat is unable to retract his nails fully when wearing this product. Over the long term, it would seem that this restriction in natural behaviour may become uncomfortable for a cat. It would certainly feel unnatural.

Lastly, I can foresee difficulty in attaching the nail caps. Cats don’t really like people fiddling around with their feet. And if you have to add ten nail caps to his front claws it is likely that there will be difficulties. Apparently, it is recommended that an assistant is used to help you attach the caps but if your cat is aggressive or becomes aggressive then it would make sense to ask your veterinarian to do it or is that going too far?

I’m told that sometimes cats chew at the nail caps immediately after they have been fitted. If that is the case, you can’t simply put them on and forget about them. You will have to check to make sure that they are still on and intact.

Has anybody had experience of using this product and if so did you have difficulties? I’d like to hear from you.

Sometime ago a regular visitor at that time, Finn Frode, wrote a page about this product which you can read here. It’s quite a popular page by the way. Finn dislikes claw caps.

If I am correct about the potential difficulties with nail caps they are still far better than declawing. That must be the case although Finn Frode disagrees.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

11 thoughts on “Cat Nail Caps – Problems?”

  1. To whomever this may concern…
    I used the plastic claw caps to stop my 6 month old kitten from clawing at the furniture. He definitely did not like the application process, I actually believe it caused him trauma. He has developed this anxiety disorder and is afraid of people coming near him. I never noticed this before, but he was a kitten at the time. I knew they were temporary and most of them fell off and we reapplied them a few times after, except this last week when I went to put a new set of caps on I noticed that one of his toes was red and swollen, looking extremely infected so I opted to not put the caps on, clean his foot and monitor it closely.when I checked his paws the next day I noticed the infection was spreading to his other toes and are swollen around the pad and nail bed. He doesn’t seem to be in pain but it has to bother him. I am taking him to the vet the day after tomorrow because I believe he may have caught a fungal infection from the litter box. I am almost positive the cat claw tip were the blame for the original infection of the toe and nail. I would definitely advise against using them. I know declawing is painful and cruel, but I would rather be surgery and healing vs constant infections and painful nailbeds. I suggest multiple scratching posts and weekly nail trimming. Thank you for reading this good luck to you.

  2. I dont understand why someone would write this as though they are asking a question. It seems the writer answers every single question they ask. Second I’ve seen this writer comment on answer sightings in North Carolina and I don’t understand why they would have anything constructive to say since they don’t even live here. What’s up with that?

    • I wrote the article. I also wrote the article about North Carolina sightings. I asked questions in this article because I don’t think it is correct to make statements on this topic because other people will have different opinions. In effect, I am asking for the opinions of others and how they have dealt with this matter. I’m looking for answers to see whether other people have had problems. I’m surprised that you don’t understand that.

      As for the North Carolina sightings, I’m simply reporting what is going on and have a right to do that. You don’t have to live at a place in order to write about that place do you? I do happen to know a lot about wild cat species and I do happen to know where they are meant to live and therefore I have a right to discuss this topic on my own website. I hope that clarifies the matter.

  3. I agree. It’s better than declawing, but it doesn’t seem good for cats, and it doesn’t even seem convenient for humans. To put the caps on you need to trim the claws, and if you are already trimming the claws, you already eliminate most of the possible damage. The caps is extra hustle and an overkill; they are also not particularly attractive.
    I like my cats to look natural. Personally, with my cats I don’t even trim because every time I try, they scream murder and wiggle out. Even the vet has difficulty trimming my cats’ claws, they are so good at wiggling out (without even bothering to bite or scratch you). They are also well trained to only use the scratching post and not to scratch people – I have to thank the rescue where I got them from for that as they came this way.

    • Those claw tips are a waste of time and money. I thought I would give them a try because my cat bites and scratches all the time and is for some reason very aggressive. But, it did not go well..hehe. I had my friend help me get them on and this cat chewed us up and spat us out and then chewed us up again and then when i got him home those caps stayed on for maybe 5 minutes. They fell off one by one. I did not try to put them on again since he really did not like them anyway

  4. “In addition, is a cat able to fully retract his claws when he is wearing nail caps? As far as I’m aware the cat is unable to retract his nails fully when wearing this product. Over the long term, it would seem that this restriction in natural behaviour may become uncomfortable for a cat. It would certainly feel unnatural.”
    I think this would be the biggest problem in that the cat would be walking on extended claws all the time, not at all natural. Live with claws or don’t get a cat, easy.

    • I agree. And if you don’t want your cat to scratch things don’t get a cat….

      (this comment has been substantially edited by admin but the essence of the comment remains 😉 )


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